Mumbai: News broadcaster TV9 Network has announced its decision to withdraw its membership of News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) over the latter’s stance on the issue of resuming TV news ratings.
Just a day after the government gave its go-ahead to Barc India to release the ratings, NBDA called upon the TV rating agency to take “some additional measures” before releasing the data. This included steps to make the systems more transparent, robust, and reliable, as well as to ensure that there is no manual intervention at any step in the rating process.
In his letter to the association on Friday, Das said, “We, TV9 network, a full member of NBDA, do not subscribe to this view of NBDA Board. This seems to be a viewpoint of select members of the association and certainly not that of the entire NBDA.” He also wrote an open letter expressing his disappointment over the association’s alleged attempts to stall the ratings by raising doubts over the credibility of the Barc data.
On Wednesday, the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry directed Barc India to immediately resume news ratings which had been hanging fire since October 2020. The decision to resume ratings came at the back of sustained efforts of several news channels, working with various stakeholders for over one year.
“As a full member of NBDA, we have tried to reason with NBDA repeatedly but to no avail. I am not sure whether the association actually wants the ratings to resume at all. The latest communication only makes a bad situation for the news industry worse” he wrote further, “. On the contrary, NBDA has been expressing views in public, on the most critical issue pertaining to the news genre, which I am completely in disagreement with. Therefore, I am left with no option but to withdraw from NBDA with immediate effect.”
According to Das, the stalling of ratings has “imperiled the news genre viability from a revenue perspective”, which he termed as an “unfair trade practice”. “The news genre is being put to disadvantage as more and more advertisers threaten to walk out. Here again, genuine interests of the news TV industry are being compromised,” he wrote.
TV9 Network is also a member of the News Broadcasters Federation, another representative body of broadcasters that had been imploring the government to resume TRPs for news channels for over a year.